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Parents: Know when to call 911
As a parent, you know to dial 911 for your child in a medical emergency. But when should you make that call? Trust your instincts—call anytime you think your child needs immediate treatment. If you're not sure, remember these signs of a medical emergency.
Signs of a medical emergency
Vomiting, strange behaviors or passing out after a head injury.
Bleeding that does not stop.
Severe trouble breathing.
Vomiting up blood.
Pain that is severe or gets worse.
Sudden spreading rash with red or purple spots.
A stiff neck along with headache and fever.
A neck or spine injury.
Evidence of dehydration, such as sunken eyes, no tears when crying, no wet diapers or urine, or feeling very tired.
Possible poisoning (call the Poison Control hotline first at 800.222.1222).
Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Academy of Pediatrics. "When to Call Emergency Medical Services (EMS)." https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/injuries-emergencies/Pages/When-to-Call-Emergency-Medical-Services-EMS.aspx.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. "When Does My Child Need Emergency Services?"